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Blow to ODM as former candidate switches camps in Ganda by-election

The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party suffered a major blow in its bid to recapture the Ganda Ward seat when a key supporter defected to a rival camp.

One of ODM candidates who stepped down to pave way for Reuben Katana decamped from the party at the weekend as the campaigns for the hotly contested seat approach the homestretch.

Erastus Katana alias King’ale, a former ODM councillor in the defunct Malindi Municipal Council, announced his support for  Abdulrahman Omar Mohamed, who is seeking to recapture the seat Mohamed lost through an election petition.

Mohamed alias Abdhere is being backed by outspoken Malindi Member of Parliament, Aisha Jumwa, who has vowed to teach ODM and its leader, former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, a lesson for fighting to remove her from the August House for declaring her support to Deputy President, William Ruto’s 2022 Presidential bid.

Jumwa officially received the defector at her Kakuyuni residence on Sunday night following intensive lobbying to wrestle the seat from the orange party and disabuse the notion that Kilifi County is an ODM zone.

On August 9, 2019, King’ale and Ibrahim Kaniki, who had declared their candidature on an ODM party ticket, signed a memorandum of understanding declaring their support for Katana and thus saved the party from going through a potentially divisive nomination process.

But on Sunday, King’ale swallowed his words, saying he was disillusioned by the manner the ODM campaigns were being handled.

“When I saw my voice was not being heard in ODM, I found my presence in the campaigns no longer tenable and thus decided to work with Mr. Omar, who I believe has the aspirations of the people at heart,” he said.

He  said that though ODM was a good party, the agenda being propagated by the party for the 2022 General Elections will not address the concerns of voters in Ganda Ward as the leaders were interested more in positions than in serving the electorate.

Receiving the defector, Ms Jumwa urged likeminded people to abandon the ‘sinking ship’ and campaign for Abdhere, who she said had proved to be mindful of the people of Ganda in the two years he served as their ward representative before the nullification of his victory.

The Ganda Ward by-election will be held on October 17, 2019. Abdhere and Katana will battle it out with Jubilee Party’s Joseph Kiponda and Kadu Asili’s, David Mitsanze.

By  Emmanuel Masha

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